Thursday, January 29, 2015

Some days I'm just inguistically impaired

A multilingual mind is a source of great entertainment. The other day, a run to the grocery store had me laughing out loud in the middle of the fruits and vegetables section. Fortunately I usually shop with earphones plugged in and my phone in my pocket, so my fellow 21st century shoppers didn't bat an eyelash.

Some useful background: Usually when I decide to swing by the grocery store for just a few things (say less than 5),  I don't write out a list. Instead, I just memorize the first letter of each item. It's usually easy enough because when I'm going for such a small amount, I'm hunting down the usual suspects: eggs, bread, ham, cheese, carrots (we juice), sugar, wine (it has grapes and thus it's health food, period).

More useful background information: I love to listen to audiobooks in my car, too. My phone's blue tooth is always on, so when I turn on the car, I just hit play and find out who dies, finds hidden treasure, or unexpectedly wakes up in Latvia. It makes travel time and errands so much more fun. If I'm not in a hurry, I deliberately stand in longer lines.

With all this in mind, one fine day, I'm driving home and gabbing on the phone with the hubby (with whom I speak Spanish) and he asks me to swing by for a few items. "Sure," I say. We make disgusting kissy noises at each other, I hang up, and my speakers switch back to playing my book (in English). A couple of miles later, I pull into the parking lot of a grocery store, pop in my headphones so that I can keep listening and make my way to the front door. As I walk through the automatic doors and take my mini cart, I pause my book and repeat my letters out loud as I head inside—you know, the ones that are supposed to help me remember what I'm there to buy. In a fantastic moment of crossed wires, I can't remember which language I used when selecting the letters!

There I am, armed with H, C and P thinking "Great. Is this huevos, café y pan or ham, carrots and... wait, what do we commonly buy that starts with a P in English?" I start to smile, sure that I've resolved my problem, but then I think of something. "Crap. Pasta. Pasta starts with a P."

Foiled by bilingualism. Realizing my completely ridiculous dilemma, I start to laugh and soon I can't stop! Because now all I can think of is that maybe it's true that having too many choices is paralyzing! At this point, I don't know what's funnier, that I can't remember the food contents of my own home or that I'm incapacitated by my languages. I'm linguistically impaired! More laughing that gets a chuckle from the guy next to me checking out the tomatoes. I start to imagine that he's confused because he left thinking T and now can't recall if that was T for tomatoes or tortillas! This new bit of absurdity feeds the hilarity. Just as my mind starts making things up about zucchini woman nearby,  I text the hubby.

Oh my, I've got to say, that was a really fun grocery store run!


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